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Are Any Humans in the Bible Really Righteous?

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Are Any Humans in the Bible Really Righteous?
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
7 October 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Genesis 6:9
        8:21
Job 1:1; 2:1-13
Matthew 4:1-11
Romans 3:23
Hebrews 1:1-4

We so often hear people raising up someone as an example of righteous living, and we need that kind of leadership; but we also need to remember that they also fail and are not always perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.
 
This is just as Paul tells us in Romans 3:23…

23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
NASB

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at Job 1:1…

1. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.
NASB

God said almost the same thing about Noah in Genesis 6:9…

9. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
NASB

All the animals God selected came to Noah to be saved on the ark; and during all the 300 days they were on the ark, Noah cared for the animals and never harmed any of them.
 
He and his family and all the animals ate only plant foods, that is until after the flood, when Noah sacrificed some of the animals. This violated the trusting relationship he had with them up until that time.
 
God brought on the flood to wipe out the evil in the world so that those on the ark could start a new life in the heavenly will of God.
 
Thus, Noah’s killing of some of the animals upset God very much, and He said in Genesis 8:21…

21. …"I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing [creature or being], as I have done.
NASB

Evil was carried onto the ark; thus corruption remained upon the earth, and somewhere during the long time aboard the ark, that evil also corrupted the once righteous Noah.
 
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that God hasn’t intervened to end the corruption that is causing so much suffering in the world, and has charged us with doing it as peacemaking children of God.
 
Let’s look at a little more of Job’s life, as we are told in Job 2:1-13, and note carefully God’s conversation with Satan.

1. Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.
 
2. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth, and walking around on it."
 
3. And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause."

This is one of the strangest situations in the Bible.
 
Why would a righteous and loving God allow evil to cause so much pain and suffering on the earth, or is there something else we are not seeing?
 
Didn’t we just discuss the fact that through Noah, evil stayed upon the earth after the flood?
 
It appears that this is what most likely allowed Satan to freely roam around the earth.
 
Or perhaps it was when Eve and Adam disobeyed God and listened to the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
 
In either case, evil roamed freely upon the earth even to this very day.
 
And if we look back at Job 1:13-19, we see that Job also had raised many animals, and we are not told that he ever killed and ate any of them; for if he did, he also allowed Satan in.
 
All of these animals, his children, and many of his servants were killed by Satan’s raiders.

4. And Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.
 
5. "However, put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face."
 
6. So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life."

Again, we don’t understand why God would allow someone to be tested to this point, for He already knew the intent of Job’s heart, as He knew the true intent of Satan.
 
But it sure answers why there is so much injustice, corruption, and indifference in the world toward the suffering of animals and humans, and why we have to peacefully fight to end it.

7. Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
 
8. And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.

Job is in misery, just as are billions and billions of animals and millions and millions of human beings.
 
Note what Job’s wife says…

9. Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!"
 
10. But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Note the way we are specifically told that Job did not sin with his lips, and we believe that we are told this for a reason; for he most likely sinned in other ways, otherwise, “with his lips” would not have been added.

11. Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him.
 
12. And when they lifted up their eyes at a distance, and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe, and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky.
 
13. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.
NASB

They were mourning with Job, just as many of us mourn for the animals and humans suffering in this world today.
 
It seems that this corruption will only end when we end it, but we still pray that God would intervene or come now.
 
Jesus also had a conversation with the devil, with different results, as we are told in Matthew 4:1-11...

1. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
 
2. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.
 
3. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
 
4. But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" 

Jesus did not listen to the voice of evil; instead, He turned the devil’s own words back upon him.
 
Jesus is showing us another side of the new covenant. Like Him, we can also reject evil, and turn evil back upon the devil.

5. Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,
 
6. and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written,
'He will give His angels charge concerning You';
and
'On their hands they will bear You up,
Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'"
 
7. Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 

Again Jesus rejects evil, and turns evil back upon the devil.
 
But the devil still continues to tempt Him.

8. Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory;
 
9. and he said to Him, "All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me."
 
10. Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" 
 
11. Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
NASB

We can do the same thing.
 
We can and should reject the forces of evil every time and in every place we encounter it.
 
Let me give you an example of how this works:
 
We had a woman write to us about a letter she received from her church pastor telling her that she had received a complaint about this woman’s posting on the church’s youth ministry page on Facebook.
 
She had been posting things on the Facebook site about having compassion for all animals, and was getting good responses.
 
Nevertheless, she was told not to do it any longer as the page was reserved for the youth ministry, and that she shouldn’t speak about her “personal choices.”
 
So she politely wrote back explaining that most people wanted her to continue, and that we have no right to “choose” to cause pain, suffering, or death to any other living being, because it doesn’t take into consideration the feeling of those animals.
 
In essence, this woman rejected the devil speaking through her pastor.
 
This is something that we should all do, no matter from where it comes.
 
What we are talking about is following what is written about Jesus in Hebrews 1:1-4.

1. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
 
2. in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
 
3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
 
4. having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
NASB

Jesus gave all of this power into our hands, so that we should also bring about the purification of this world through our rejection of the evil that has corrupted it.
 
If we see corruption in our government, and their support of evil, such as the subsidizing of animal agriculture, we are to peacefully speak out against it.
 
We are to politely and peacefully speak out against our so-called “health” industry, including the pharmaceutical industry, for they make no effort to tell the truth about how eating animal products is harming our health.
 
We strongly believe that they really know the truth, but continue to do this because of the billions of dollars that they make.
 
And in turn this supports laboratory testing on animals, which really does almost nothing to end suffering and illness.
 
To us, this is an evil that needs to be rejected so that the truth comes to light.
 
It is time we put fear aside and, with our love, take a stand against the forces of evil in this world.
 
We should do it, because it’s the right and Godly thing to do.
 
We can make a difference.
 
We can turn our former evil ways into righteousness.
 
We can free creation from its present corruption.
 
We can be the peacemaking children of God we have been called to be.
 
Amen.